When We Go to War with God

 
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We're all born hostile: hostile toward God and hostile toward each other. In theology, it's the consequence of what we call "original sin." Original sin produces violent fruit. We fight battles every day. A baby battles to walk upright. A teenage girl fights against peer pressure. A man battles back tears as his wife's casket is lowered into the ground. Every day, everyone and everything fights one million times one million battles.

Sometimes, the fight charges at us. At other times, the battle occurs inside us. We can't make peace with our abusive past. We struggle with addiction to get through the next minute, then the one after that, and the one after that until it's time to go to bed. Another day sober. We fight to feed our family. We battle the incursion of night terrors. We call a truce for the sake of the kids until they're in bed. Then the pent-up hostility explodes in a barrage of epithets and ultimatums.

Original sin produces violent fruit.
— Donavon Riley

There is no end to the evil that man visits upon man. The world is full of chaos let loose by people who rise up every day to get what they deserve, what they're entitled to, and what's theirs by right. We're a different breed from what the Creator intended. Sin changed us. We're all born hostile. Violent to the extent that we murder God because it's what seems right and what's best for us.

We need the God we executed now more than ever. For our family and friends, for our brothers and sisters in Christ, our neighbors, and the whole world. 

God spoke to our sin, to our hostility, and we executed him. We murdered God's Word. We declared war with Jesus, and he just stood there and took it. He didn't fight back. He didn't defend himself. He didn't counter-attack. He just stood there like a lamb waiting to be slaughtered.

God suffered himself to be rejected by us as no one else will. While we are engaged in battle with God and each other, he's busy reconciling the world to himself. He takes all our hostility and says, "Father forgive them because they don't know what they're doing." He doesn't snatch the spear from the soldier's hands and turn it on his executors. Instead, he takes it all, receives it all, and then he dies for us to forgive us.

He takes it all, receives it all, and then he dies for us to forgive us.
— Donavon Riley

Jesus dies to forgive us. His blood pours out of his spear-pierced side, and in that flood of crimson grace, we discover our peace. Peace at home. Peace with our neighbor. Peace with ourselves. But, most importantly, peace with our God. By his wounds, we are healed. By his bruises and blood, we are forgiven. By his suffering and death, we are reconciled with God. 

Now, whatever hostility may come our way: mental, physical, and material, we're with Jesus. He has died so that hostilities may cease. He is risen from death to give us peace, and so we have received peace by his blood. 

Donavon Riley is a Lutheran pastor, conference speaker, author, Online Content Manager for Higher Things, a contributing writer for 1517, Christ Hold Fast, and LOGIA. He is also the co-host of The Banned Books podcast and the As Lutheran As It Gets podcast.



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